May 2006 Newsletter
"Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you,
which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you,
unless ye have believed in vain.
For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received,
how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;"
1 Corinthians 15:1-3
There are a lot of firsts in life. The first time someone walks. The first time someone talks.
The first day of school. Your first home run. The first paycheck you get. Lots of firsts in life.
The reason that we remember these ‘firsts’ is because they are important to us. We have
crossed over into new territory. The second time won’t be like the first time.
There is something for a Christian that is of the utmost importance. It is of first importance.
All else hinges upon this event for a Christian, and, as you read in Corinthians, it is the cross of our Lord.
It is Christ crucified. Nothing else even comes close to it. All of history hinges on this one event.
Time splits in two because of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Without the cross, there
is no forgiveness. The wrath of God would not be satisfied without the cross. The rest of Christianity
just wouldn’t make sense without Christ crucified.
Just in case you are wondering, Satan knows that also. That is why one of his tricks is to
get people focused on other things besides the cross. In the top ten things in your life, what
holds the number one slot above all else? Is it your spouse? Is it your kids? Is it your job? Is
it your money? Is it your favorite sports team? Is it your college? What holds that top spot? One
of the things I think Satan is trying to do is to make sure the cross moves down to at least
the second spot. Because once there, it is easy for it to go to the third spot, the fourth, etc. Next
thing you know, it is out of the top ten. It is no longer of first importance.
A friend of mine taught me a question he uses when witnessing. He asks people the
question, “What is one thing you have learned in life that I ought to know?” What a great question!
So when you boil it all down, what have you learned that you would want to deposit into my life?
What is the one thing you want to pass on to others? It is very interesting to see how many people
do not have an answer to that question. It is a great question because it causes people to think.
To this day, I have never had a Christian tell me that the cross of Jesus Christ is the most important
thing going on in their life. I am amazed at how many Christians will make a bold stand for the
republican party, a bold stand for their college sports team, will talk about their business all day
long, but none—not one—has ever told me that the cross of Jesus is all that life is about.
In Galatians 6:14, Paul says,
"But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the
world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world."
Do you get the sense of what is the most important thing in Paul’s life as he writes this
There is a new movement going on called the Emergent Church movement. The unofficial
head is a guy by the name of Brian McLaren. He is a pastor, speaker, and author. I just saw him
on the CBS evening news the other night. Brian made the statement to the host of a web podcast,
that hell and the cross are almost a distraction, and false advertising for God.
1 Corinthians 1:17,18 says
"For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest
the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that
perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God."
1 Corinthians 1:23 says
"But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness;"
So which is it? Is the cross false advertising for God, or is it that when the cross is preached
it is heard as foolishness to the unbeliever, and a stumbling block to the lost? It is one or the other. It
is one or the other in your life. Two things cannot hold the top spot in your life. The cross or nothing
else. Your earthly life and eternal life depend upon it. Which one will it be?
The lyrics to the old hymn go:
On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross, the emblem of suffering and shame;
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.
So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it someday for a crown.
If you want to know God, you have to know Jesus. If you want to know Jesus, you must know
One of the editors for my books, Nomi Orr, died a couple of weeks ago. She didn’t really
die, but she graduated from this life to the next. Death never means things are over. It is
just the beginning of your life on the other side. As I always tell people, every person that has
died is either alive and well, or alive in hell. One or the other. No middle ground here. One
of the things that I will never forget about Nomi is how when we talked on the phone about the
book and how to make it just right, it was just part of what we had to do to make the books
glorify the Lord. So many times, what she really wanted to do was to talk about Jesus and
pray. She seemed to me at her total, complete, happiest state when she was talking about
Jesus. See, to her, the cross held the most important place in her life. Her life was about
Jesus. So that means her death is about Jesus. She had the priorities of life stacked in the
right order. Please pray for her husband Joel, and her kids and grandkids as they go through
this time of transition.
Time is scooting by. What is in the top slot of your life right now that needs to be put at the
foot of the cross so the cross can move up to its rightful position as the most important thing in
this entire world? Make this change today. You will not regret it while you’re on earth, or on judgment
Until the nets are full,